Maker of `Niyamgiri you are still alive` to work with adivasis

Updated: Dec 09, 2010, 13:24 PM IST

Panaji: Award winning documentary maker Suma Josson plans tocontinue working with the Adivasis in Orissa`s Niyamgiri hills documenting the crisis in the lives of the tribals.

"I want to follow up on what`s happening in Niyamgiri and I will be visiting the place many more times," said Josson, whose documentary, "Niyamgiri You Are Still Alive", won the first prize in the Environment Section of short film centre of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2010 held from November 22 to December 2.

Jasson shared the first prize with another short film "Kaippad" by Babu Kambrath.

"I feel it is important to document the ongoing crises happening there and give voice to the adivasis," said the filmmaker, who is also working on other documentaries besides on tribals.

Josson`s documentary talks about the battle by adivasis against multinational Vedanta`s plans to mine the bauxite from the hills of Niyamgiri in Orissa.

The filmmaker says that the mining means total destruction of the environment and displacement of the locals.

On Goa`s rampant mining scenario, she said that mining leaves behind black deserts.

"I am with the locals. The impact and the outcome of the mining that is taking place in Goa will be felt many years later when climate, health of the people and other such factors will begin to play up," she added.

Josson is yet to screen her documentary on Niyamgiri to the people in power.

"It will happen gradually," she quips.

Mumbai-based filmmaker is happy with the response her film evoked at IFFI.

"People became aware of the real issues especially connected to the environment and the status of the adivasis in Niyamgiri," the filmmaker said, adding that since the cries of the adivasis were genuine and transparent, the film gained strength.

"Niyamgiri You Are Still Alive" did not get any buyer at the festival but the filmmaker said that she was not looking out for the buyers.

The jury headed by green Oscar winner Naresh Bedi had termed Jasson`s film as `passionate portrayal of a battle for survival`.

In their citation to the filmmaker, the jury had said that the film maker has taken pains to gain the confidence of a beleaguered tribal community fighting a multi-national.

"Going beyond the Politics of big Corporation versus rural folks, the film starkly reveals the real threats of losing land, livelihoods and gods," the citation reads.

The jury had felt that the film is a strong statement for the Power of the People and a source of inspiration for battles against injustice.

PTI